I needed to talk to someone, so I called the Mind Infoline
Pete, who suffers from anxiety and depression, has run seven marathons and raised several thousand pounds for Mind.
I was driving to a meeting when my heart started racing. I couldn’t breathe properly. I felt I wasn’t safe. I was experiencing the symptoms of a panic attack.
Somehow, I manged to get to a service station where I parked up and burst into tears. I felt that I couldn’t call my wife or parents as I didn’t want to worry them. It was then I remembered that Mind had a helpline, so I did a quick a search on my phone for it and called that instead.
“They were so calm and gentle, and they reminded me that this was a panic attack and that I was safer than I thought.”
The first thing they did was get me to address my breathing as I was crying and struggling to breathe. They were so calm and gentle, and they reminded me that this was a panic attack and that I was safer than I thought. They talked to me for about 15 minutes until I felt ready to carry on. They also told me about the Mind website and a local Mind group where I could get support.
The thing that struck me was just how reassuring and patient they were with me particularly as I probably wasn't making much sense because I was so scared.
Cycle of anxiety and depression
I didn’t immediately engage with Mind, and my depression got an awful lot worse. I went to see my GP who put me on antidepressants and arranged some counselling, but I was still experiencing cycles of anxiety and depression.
It was when I was watching the London Marathon on TV that an old ambition stirred in me. I’d always wanted to run the marathon, but I’d got quite unfit in my 30s. I applied to Mind for a charity place. I knew I wanted to run for Mind because that first call to the Infoline helped me at one of my lowest points.
“As well as being active, running helped me live in the moment, instead of worrying about the future or past.”
I ran the London Marathon for Mind in 2017, and that was life changing for me. It gave me so much confidence. I’d achieved something that was a massive challenge and had found something that made a big difference to my mental health.
Running got me outside and gave me goals and objectives. As well as being active, running helped me live in the moment, instead of worrying about the future or past, which I’d always done. I’ve now run seven marathons and raised several thousand pounds for Mind.
Helped by Mind’s personal stories
Ten years on from that panic attack I still use the Mind website regularly. The personal stories highlighting how other people have struggled with similar situations and thoughts help me deal with feelings of shame and stigma. They show me that I’m not alone.
My journey with Mind started with that first call to the Infoline, but it has grown stronger ever since.
Looking back, there were moments when I should have called the Infoline before, but I was scared of being judged. I’ve never felt any judgement from Mind – only support and care. For anyone wondering if they should call, just do it.”
Information & Support
When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Visit our information pages to find out more.
Share your story with others
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.